Blogging about adult literacy


I've haven't been blogging as much as usual. Which isn't unusual - I mean, there have been lots of times when I've posted only once or twice a fortnight.

Often, that means my time is taken up by other kinds of writing: reports; proposals; program documents. Sometimes it means I'm thinking about occupational challenges that would be inappropriate for a public blog. Sometimes it means I'm spending long storytent days in the sun or the rain, and I'm just too dog tired to be clever or droll.

These days, for whatever reason, I find myself taken up by complicated reflections. Not bigger or more important, but harder to deal with in a thousand words or less. Repeatedly, I've started posts only to find I needed to stop and read more, think more, find out more. I've been wanting to think and talk about things which just don't fit inside a blog post.

I don't know if it's related, but I've also been reading fewer posts, and almost no adult learning blogs. (I'd say "adult literacy" blogs but I'm not sure we have any left.) I've been reading books, reports, old Literacies papers. I've been reading the kind of things that reward a slower reading.

Truth be told, I've also been wondering about keeping this blog up. The 500th post slipped past a few days back. I've been yakking away for four years now. Is there anything new to say?

At first, this blog was just about learning to blog and learning about the internet. Then, it was about having a voice in a national and international conversation - in a way that suited my introvert personality and unwillingness to fly and sleep in strange hotel rooms. Later, the blog gave me practice at making arguments, shaping arguments. I worked hard at refining three or four or five key ideas.

All along, the blog provided an interesting avenue for reflecting on my day-to-day choices. At the same time, I've been happy to promote books, tools, people I have found helpful in my work. (Though I'm not sure how many people who do my kind of work - who help adults and youth learn to read and write and cipher - actually bother with online postings.)

So what now? For Year Five, I mean?

More research in practice? To what end? We've seen how easy it has been for governmental agencies to ignore Barton and Hamilton, Denny Taylor, Elsa Auerbach, Jenny Horsman. Why on earth would we continue to do research - other than to get paid (and who gets paid anymore)?

Well, then, how about action research or reflective practice (which always seemed like the same thing to me)? That's okay, but I'm not... well, there are pros and cons to doing that online.

I don't mind lobbying hard on behalf of a community of practice or a set of principles and beliefs. For that matter, I don't mind being a voice crying in the wilderness. But to what end?

I haven't stopped posting. I probably won't, though I might post differently.

I think.

The thing is, when I started to look seriously at measures of levels of reading difficulty in the light of the IALS and the way Workplace Essential Skills are being scored....

When I started looking at the last 20 years of adult literacy and adult basic education work in the context of 20th century liberal thought and the shift that took place in North American culture around 1980....

When I began exploring various claims about the value, or lack of value, of novels and poetry and self-directed reading within working class and cyclically-poor families....

When I began exploring the history and politics of how educators have colluded with the wealthy to blame oppressed people for their own oppression....

None of these have lent themselves to my 200-800 word photo-argue template.

So instead of writing, I mostly just read and putter and re-read and wonder.

Talk to you tomorrow.

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